Here is my confession as a mom with anxiety and depression. Here’s me being vulnerable with you. Here’s my struggle. Here’s the truth. Every day I wake up and I’m not sure who I’m getting. Am I getting “fun-loving” Kendra, “hide in a closet” Kendra, “tough as a mother” Kendra, “depressed and want to escape my body” Kendra, “business mode and slightly spastic” Kendra? And if I don’t know who I’m getting when I wake up and as the day goes on, I’m sure my kids are confused as well. It’s embarrassing. It’s confusing to my own self…let alone most likely, so confusing to the ones closest to me. My husband, who is extremely supportive, and my little kids, 9, 7, and 4– who are trying to figure life out themselves.
Here’s the truth, in a matter of hours and sometimes moments… I can go from a social media expert to classic introvert–needing to me left alone and hide away. From loving the loud noise to needing it to just staahhhp. It sometimes takes everything inside my soul to not want to scream at the top of my lungs for everything and everybody, and especially myself… to just SHUT UP! Shut up the noise. Shut up the sinking feeling in my gut. Shut up the circulating thoughts. Shut up the racing beat of my heart. Shut up my need for deep breaths. Shut up the anxiety and depression pills. Just shut up. Just everything—please shut up.
Depression and anxiety is like trying to climb out of a dark hole and never reaching the top. You can see the light peeking over, but you can never really grasp it. You want to escape your body…or your brain..but you can’t. You’re literally stuck. And then you spin your mind a million directions trying to figure out the next move to get out of the fog, the funk, the dark.
My whole life I’ve had this. As early as I can remember…all the things made me sad. And, all the things made me anxious. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I was clinically diagnosed and got onto my friend ZOLOFT. (And trust, Zoloft is my friend..ha..otherwise…watch out.)
Maybe your story is similar to mine? Maybe you’re a mom with anxiety and depression. If you are, here’s me giving you a virtual hug and cheers to totally getting it. If it’s not your story, maybe it is for a mom close to you and you’re here getting the 411 from me. I’m cool with that. In my opinion, one of the best gifts we have as humans is learning to understand one another and hearing other’s stories. Gaining new perspectives and shifting our own (hello Enneagram, Meyers Briggs and all the other personality tests I troll on the internet). And in the end—learning to love one another well.
But the truth is, my story as a mother doesn’t stop with anxiety and depression. This isn’t a sad story and confessional as a mom with anxiety and depression. It’s actually far from that because honestly, anxiety and depression is what I have, but it ISN’T who I am. It doesn’t own me and I refuse to keep it around because it’s comfortable to stay there.
As a mom with depression and anxiety, I’ve pressed on. I’ve pushed passed and have not let it debilitate me from standing in front of crowds and speaking, going live on TV, loving my family, putting a smile on my face, hanging out with a friend. But I get inside my own head sometimes. Or maybe I forget to take my Zoloft. Either way, my family knows when I have forgotten to take my pills for a few days. We laugh and say, “nobody wants Crazy Kendra.”
And I laugh too…because I don’t want her either. I don’t like her. She is the opposite of who I want my kids to remember. She is the mom that get’s overwhelmed easily and stresses about everything. Who is temperamental, can’t deal, and the sound of an offbeat noise makes anxiety race to the maximum. Sex? No. The “too close” touch makes me feel claustrophobic and want to run on some days when the anxiety is HIGH. And other days—watch out, I’ll tear my husband apart…in a good way (ha).
But I wonder, will my kids hate me later on? Will they think I’m a psycho? Will they understand that me, their mom, had a mental illness and that sometimes I failed epically? Sometimes forgot to take my meds and my anxiety and depression got the better of me?
Maybe? Maybe I should start a counseling fund now for them. I don’t know…I didn’t grow up with a mom who had these issues. My mom was literally Betty Crocker, Suzy Homemaker, and a slice of Mother Mary in one breath and she KILLED it.
I am not that though.
I am me!
Kendra Stanton, a mother of three amazing humans, and wife to one sexy beast of a man who loves me no matter what and five bajillion other titles.
Here’s what I want my kids to know about me…
I am a fighter.
I fight and get up in the morning when I feel like sleeping through the sad feels. I fight and stay positive when I naturally feel all kinds of negative. I fight and put a smile on my face when I don’t internally feel that. I fight and take all my deep breaths and pray when I wake up at 3 am in sheer panic for no reason. I fight and pick up the phone to call a friend even though it gives me mad anxiety. I fight and learn to have a schedule though it makes me want to hyperventilate. I fight and get on that airplane even though my chest pounds every time. I fight and knowingly enter awkward social scenarios—stand next to, and love people who I know don’t feel the same back (deep breaths). I fight and have an honest conversation because it feels better to get-it-out than have it squashed inside my soul. I fight and make a career move—though the conversations and interviews to get there made me want to say, “never-mind”. I fight and say sorry to my kids when I need to. I fight and say sorry to my husband when I need to. I fight and take my anxiety and depression pills even though—-to be honest—I feel like a nut job that I have to take them.
Honestly, I do feel like that! It’s shamefully true.
Deep inside..I feel like, dang girl, I wish I didn’t have to take these to be normal. To be able to function without internally and externally, losing my mind.
And while, yes, I’ve been prayed over. And yes, I’ve had seasons of pure freedom. The truth is, maybe this just keeps me on my knees? Maybe this makes me see the world through a different lens and it’s not all that bad. Maybe it makes me relatable? Maybe like Paul, this is the thorn in my side and God’s grace is truly sufficient for me and “his power is made perfect in my weakness”. (2nd Corinthians 12:7-9)
Maybe at the end of the day, my kids, my husband, my little squad family that I would die for in two seconds, will see me as a warrior.
Because I know without a doubt, that is how God sees me. He SEE’S ME! He crafted me. He created me. ME! With all my unique abilities and disabilities. I’m not a mistake.
And—he crafted you too! If you’re reading this, and you struggle with this, babe—YOU are not a mistake either.
All my love!
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